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Why was a single instance chosen vs. one for each Atlassian product?

Why is there a single Answers site vs. one for each Atlassian product?

In some ways it is good (for questions that don't apply to a single product), but in others it seems like it will be too high-traffic. I understand that you can just search by "Crowd" or "Confluence" but that takes typing or bookmarking a search. Maybe links to searches on Crowd, Confluence, etc. could be somewhere on the page?

4 answers

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5 votes
Answer accepted

Good question indeed. This is definitely something we thought a lot about and that we're monitoring closely. We found that everything we considered had tradeoffs. We'll continue to evolve and improve when we learn more, and we already have plans for some improvements.

First, we're building a tag wizard that will help people tag things appropriately. It should be ready next week. That should help people pick the right tag when they ask questions, at least their product name and whether it's a development question.

We did go through the thought experiment of multiple sites, but there are plenty of problems with that model as well. Do gadgets and IDE connectors get their own sites too? Are 'jira' and 'jira-development' one or two sites? We could end up having a dozen or more sites, which would add at least as much confusion as it would reduce, not to mention the overhead of maintaining subscriptions to different services.

Spaces, on the other hand, seems like an attractive way to go. We could build spaces to further segment Answers, and we're looking into that. Again, it's a tradeoff - there might be too much segmentation for things that are cross-product - but certainly spaces seem like a strong candidate for organization. We decided to launch Answers this way because when we looked around, we found a bunch of Q & A sites that are running quite successfully using tags all in one site. We thought it would be possible to achieve that with Atlassian products, and we thought this way we'd also gain some benefit from cross-product types of questions, especially as we build more integrations and commonalities between our products.

As for, I have to admit, we didn't discuss that, even though we do know that 'meta' sites are common practice. A lot of meta questions have arisen already. So far, people have organized them by tagging 'answers'. I'm actually impressed with this. That category has self-organized, and people are really sticking to it; I don't think any of the questions tagged 'answers' needed to be retagged. Evidently it's intuitive enough, and I suspect we'd still get meta questions even if we were to split off another site. You'd introduce a new problem! I think the idea of new tags that we didn't think of can arise and the more intuitive ones float to the top is actually one of the good parts about a community tool.

in others it seems like it will be too high-traffic

Have you added 'favourite tags'? By default, you are subscribed to your own questions, and to new questions that match your interesting tags (we need to change everything to 'favourite', that's a little bug). You can also follow an RSS feed for a specific tag.

Ultimately, we're definitely tracking this. As Gary points out in the question, it's probably the best model for things like universal-wiki-connector, sharepoint-connector, hibernate, calendar-plugin, etc...

I think proper tagging is critical to this working smoothly, which is a task that moderators (or anyone with >150 points) should monitor.

One thing that I'm not a fan of in "favourite tags" is that I get email notifications if anything new gets posted with that tag. I would rather just have a link off to the side to easily get to questions tagged with confluence-development rather than get mail about questions, answers, and related comments that I'm not interested in.

i really like the single-view approach, and for narrowing down to your tool of choice - tags can always help

EDIT: i would agree though that answers-related questions should not be in the same instance - something like

valid point - someone with high karma would need to update the tags on questions, so it has both confluence and confluence-development or so... just brainstorming here

But plugin development, wiki usage, crowd usage, jira usage, etc. all in one place when people don't usually use tags? That means that the subject or page body has to contain text that specifies the product, and that won't always be the case. I think time will tell whether this is a good idea, and I would be money over the long haul that it has to be fragmented/split somehow, or somehow automatically tagged by entering the site in a certain way, just to ensure that it doesn't get too crazy.

One thing I realized (stupidly recently) is that sometimes people post questions to the wrong place. I've monitored the UWC forum for years, but only occasionally keep track of the other atlassian forums. But what happens if someone posts a question about the UWC to Confluence Dev forum? Depends. I think part of managing a knowledge base is the reality of needing to help people find where their questions should go. On some level, what's really different here is that the problem is more visible (but therefore we can talk about it and look for solutions).

It does seem a little firehose-like. But I think it'll end up being fine once all the tagging features are worked out. For now, I'm using my gmail filters to pre-sort incoming by tag, and I think that will help alot too.

I completely agree with your question Gary. It is a bit of a pain to use it the way that it is currently implemented.

Good question.

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